May 10, 2011

The Hardship Letter, Or Why I Can't Afford To Stay In Or Pay For My House.

I'm working on my most recent post revolving around the offer on the house and subsequent appraisal.  In the mean time, here's my hardship letter.  This is something that I was instructed to write to the bank as a reason why they should consider accepting a short sale or, if that doesn't work out, a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.  I was told that it should be factual and emotional, but not filled with venom or blame.  This is what I came up with:

I was a blushing bride in the spring of 2004, the year my then-husband and I bought our first home together.  It was, at the time, a compromise on my part.  I wanted an older home with soul, he wanted a newer home with fewer maintenance costs, no if's ands or buts.  We were getting a newer home or we were headed back to an apartment.  In the spirit of compromise, and the resolve to never moved back into shared living space again, I acquiesced.  We closed on our tri-level home at ABC North XYZ street at the end of February 2004. 



My how times have changed since we were newlyweds.  I have since experienced a severe back injury that has made walking, much less navigating the stairs in my house difficult at times.  We have ushered in guests, seen friends come and go, and made improvements to the home we shared as a couple.  Over the years, we made some stupid financial mistakes, and I was out of work for the majority of 2007.  We were living on one income and credit cards, and that added up to a pile of debt.  But, we were homeowners.  We had the fence, the dog, and the dream.  That American dream came to an end in October of 2010.  We'd filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy the previous April, and tried to hold it together in the name of being responsible debtors.   

Emotionally, this was just too hard on both of us.  We were legally man and wife, but we were strangers living under the same roof.  The tension was hard on our health.  His blood pressure skyrocketed, and my migraines started to affect my attendance at work.  After roughly two years of doing some soul searching and examining our relationship, our marriage came to an amicable end in front of a judge in Douglas County Nebraska on Oct 26th, 2010.  It was decided that I would be tasked with taking care of the house.  He moved out, we both tried to move on.



So, here I am, a single woman with a bad back and pelvis, living in a house that's painful to navigate, that I have never loved, and can't afford to keep.  If my checks weren't garnished by roughly half to pay for my chapter 13 plan, I would be fine.  However, my paychecks barely cover the utilities that I'm still trying to pay down from when my ex-husband and his girlfriend were living with me.  (Yes, we were that serious about being good debtors that the old and the new women were living under the same roof.) 



Even if I loved the house and was devastated to not be able to afford it, I can't.  Plain and simple.  Certainly, I could find a roommate.  However, the emotional  baggage that comes with living in the place where my marriage died, coupled with the pain in my back and hips from navigating the stairs makes that idea hard to swallow.  Every moment I spend in my house is like having a shadow of failure looming over me.  I never wanted to go broke and lose my shirt to the point where I had to file chapter 13.  Despite my divorce being legally simple, in the grand scheme of things, it has been trying for both of us.  My pride takes a beating every time I hit the garage door button when I come home.  I have cared for the house as a structure to the best of my abilities, but it ceased to be a home years ago.



I implore you to accept my request to allow me to leave my house in the care of someone who will love it, and allow me to keep as much dignity as I have left.  I want to see this dwelling bring joy to someone, instead of the literal pain and emotional misery it brings me.  Please allow me to salvage what sliver of a credit rating that a short sale would allow.  I am working on a personal rebirth, and leaving this home behind me will be the last major step in that all-important journey.  I would like to put the last decade behind me as quickly and as painlessly as possible.  I realize I am simply a number, a name on a ledge of delinquent mortgage holders.  You don't know me, and there's not enough time in the day to know the personal sob stories of us hit hardest by the economy and personal tragedy.  I just ask that you take my words at face value and allow me this dignity to move on as my ex-husband and I did; part as friends and go our own way.



Sincerely,



Ephemily

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